I love to go for long walks with our dogs and often drive out of town into a nearby forest, park somewhere and off we go. “Aren’t you afraid to walk into the woods?” I hear it often and I have to say I am not afraid at all. Life isn’t a staged movie, where the bad guy is hiding behind a single tree in a gigantic forest, waiting there for years for the right woman to come by.
My fear was never to be found, my fear was what I could find. I have a great imagination and all kind of scenarios came to my mind. Ranking from finding a treasure chest to finding a victim’s body. Too many Stephen King’s and other crime books I suppose, but that was really my biggest worry of all…stepping into a crime scene. Seeing something that nobody should see, or getting involved into something, that I wouldn’t be able to shake off.
The following true story happened years ago, before everybody had a cell phone attached to their hips. It was a beautiful day in fall. My husband was working and I didn’t feel like spending the day at home. I took the dogs for a ride and drove out of town. There is a beautiful forest not too far away, one of our favorite destinations for long walks. We have big dogs and they love to run and romp in the woods, there I can let them off the leash without scaring people. It was a gorgeous day and I was hoping to find some mushrooms. We walked for about 2 hours when I saw something that didn’t look right. I gave the dogs the command to heel and we walked closer. It looked like a bag or something and then it became clear what it was. It was a leg, a naked female leg sticking out from under a bunch of leaves…not moving at all.
I stopped, put the dogs on the leash and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to go closer, I didn’t want to see a dead body, because that’s what it was…no doubt. I turned around and had to sit down, I felt shaky. My biggest fear came true and I was faced with it. I didn’t know what to do, didn’t want to be in this situation. What if somebody just dumped the body and was watching me? This thought got me back onto my feed and I started walking backwards. I felt sick to my stomach, my dogs acted weird as well. The whole situation felt surreal and I left as fast as I could.
It was about 40 minutes back to the car, if we would walk a straight line and we made it back in half of the time. I drove back into town, stopped at our police station and walked inside. A friend of ours is a cop and was on shift. He looked at me “you look like you just saw a ghost” and I told him what I had seen.
“Do you know her?” he asked and I was speechless. “I didn’t’ go close enough to introduce myself” and all of a sudden I thought “what if she is still alive and I left her there, because I am a coward?” “What if she is not dead?” We had to go back as soon as possible.
“Do you know where it was?” “Kinda, hmmm yes I am sure I can find it again, but it’s off path and we can’t go by car” I said. He looked at me “how about a fourwheeler, would that work?” “I think so, lets give it a try” and a short while back we drove back in a police car and met a guy with fourwheelers.
We drove for a while and I had a hard time finding the place, everything looked and felt different while driving, but then I recognized the area and sure enough, there it was I could see her. We stopped and he walked closer while I waited, then he came back. “Come with me” he said and I didn’t want to, but felt strong enough to do it, since I wasn’t alone.
Only when we were really close, I could see what had scared me. It was a leg, but not a real one, it was the lower part of a mannequin. A fake leg sticking out from under the leaves. I had been scared by a doll, I felt like a total moron, but felt relieved as well. We picked up the leg and the other parts and drove back to the police station. I am not the panicking type, so what had happened? Nobody laughed at me, when we were back at the station, that surprised me the most. We know each other, are friends, somehow I did expect someone would make a bad joke on my expense, but it didn’t happen. “It looked so real” that’s what he said “don’t feel bad ok”.
Well, I am glad it was a fake scare, but I walk differently in the forest ever since…oh, and if I ever meet the idiot, who dropped the mannequin there in the forest, I hope he can run fast!